[ mer-ee-goh-round ]
/ ˈmɛr i goʊˌraʊnd /
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Also called carousel . (in amusement parks, carnivals, etc.) a revolving, circular platform with wooden horses or other animals, benches, etc., on which people may sit or ride, usually to the accompaniment of mechanical or recorded music.
a rapid whirl or a busy round, as of social life or business affairs.
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Origin of merry-go-round

First recorded in 1720–30
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What is a merry-go-round?

A merry-go-round is an amusement park ride that consists of a revolving, circular platform with wooden horses or other fixtures, as in Sofia and Camila begged their parents to ride the merry-go-round with them.  

A merry-go-round is also known as a carousel. People sit on the fixtures, while the platform goes around slowly and cheery (some might say “cheesy”) music plays.

Merry-go-round can also be used figuratively to refer to a whirl, or a busy round, of activity, as in Sports fans are always delighted by the merry-go-round of the trading season. 

Example: I always enjoyed listening to carnival music when I rode the merry-go-round as a kid. 

Where does merry-go-round come from?

The first records of merry-go-round come from around 1720. The name most likely comes from the fact that riders “go (a)round” in circles and are hopefully merry while they do so.

Merry-go-rounds are common attractions at amusement parks. The ride is gentle and is usually safe even for younger children. Sometimes, a merry-go-round features hanging rings, often made of brass, that riders can attempt to grab as they rotate around. From this practice we get the phrase brass ring, which means “wealth or success” or “an opportunity to try for a prize.”

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What are some words that often get used in discussing merry-go-round?

How is merry-go-round used in real life?

The merry-go-round is a common amusement park ride, and the word is commonly used both in the literal and figurative senses.

Try using merry-go-round!

Is merry-go-round used correctly in the following sentence?

Alexa was quickly overwhelmed by the chaotic merry-go-round of the Hollywood film world.

How to use merry-go-round in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for merry-go-round


another name for roundabout (def. 1)
a whirl of activity or eventsthe merry-go-round of the fashion world
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012